HKU885

ALI FARHOOMAND

DISNEY: LOSING MAGIC IN THE MIDDLE KINGDOM
Hong Kong Disneyland will provide guests with an immersive experience to re-ignite “the magic that is the Disney storytellingtradition”. The park will act as a springboard for our other businesses throughout China and the region.
- Andy Bird, president of Walt Disney International, August 20051

Three years after itsopening in September 2005, Hong Kong Disneyland had yet to gather sufficient momentum to catapult its attendance rate to a satisfactory level. Despite high expectations of it as a cash-cow touristattraction, things had turned rocky, with a series of negative media coverage both before and after the launch. The park suffered a major blow after a ticketing hiccup during the Chinese New Year in February2006, when many mainland tourists with valid tickets were barred from entering due to overcrowding, causing a chaotic scene in front of the TV news cameras. The attendance rate declined rapidlythereafter. Even though tremendous effort was made to lure back the crowd, no spectacular improvement was recorded. Factors such as the park’s small size, inconvenient location, lack of unique features,insufficient appeal to adults and missing Chinese elements were cited as possible causes. The poor financial performance had attracted much public attention, since the government owned a 57% stake inthe park. In 2008, the Walt Disney Company (“Disney”) was negotiating with the Hong Kong government for additional capital injection to build more attractions. However, it was imperative for themanagement to find out what went wrong in the first place, and what should be done to turn the tide.

1

Landreth, J. (31 August 2005) “Hong Kong Disneyland Opens with Wealth of Challenges—Mouse MeetsMao”, Hollywood Reporter, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001051279 (accessed 11 June 2008).

Penelope Chan prepared this case under the supervision of... [continua]

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